Meat In a Healthy Weight Loss Diet
Meat is Good For Weight Loss
Lean red meat or lean chicken/turkey – and especially fish – are important foods for any weight loss diet. To begin with, all these foods are useful sources of protein, and some recent research indicates that higher intakes of protein may (as part of a calorie-controlled eating plan) assist weight reduction. Another weight loss benefit of meat, when eaten in moderation, is its sheer convenience. It’s a great single-source of essential minerals and vitamins – micronutrients needed for efficient metabolism and a healthy body. There’s no need to cook the variety of foods necessary to obtain the same nutrition that meat offers.
Eat Red Meat in Moderation
However, the value of meat for anyone who wants to lose or maintain weight is conditional upon three factors. First, it should be eaten in moderation. Second, it should be lean – with all visible fat removed before cooking/eating. Remember, meat-fat (and chicken skin) is high in calories and saturated fat – the type associated with atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries). Bottom line: if you eat red meat every day, switching to fish or chicken several times a week can improve cholesterol levels. For more details, see Dietary Fat
Nutritional Value of Meat
Lean meat is a healthy and very convenient store of protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Beef and lamb both contain vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12, and several vital minerals including iron and zinc. But lean lamb is higher in fat. Pork contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12, and the minerals iron, selenium and zinc. Game meats are also rich in micronutrients, but typically contain less saturated fat for even better dietary health. Chicken and turkey are excellent low-fat sources of protein (provided the skin is removed), and contain B-vitamins and some minerals. Turkey also contains vitamin B12. Strict vegetarians (vegans) who avoid meat, eggs and milk, need to take B12 supplements or eat B12-fortified foods.
How Much Meat To Eat in a 1600 Calorie Weight Loss Diet
The latest Dietary Guidelines (2005) recommend 5oz of meat (or protein equivalent) per day. According to the suggested diet plans, one ounce of meat is equivalent to:
– 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or fish
– 1 egg
– 1/4 cup cooked dry beans or tofu
– 1 tbsp peanut butter
– 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds
Nutritional Value of Eggs
An egg is designed by nature to supply protein, vitamins and minerals to the chick. Thus in addition to being the most complete protein-food, eggs are an excellent source of vitamin B12, plus folate and vitamins A and D. In addition eggs are a good source of zinc. The relatively high cholesterol content of an egg (about 225 mg cholesterol per egg yolk) is not considered by nutritionists to be a health problem for anyone with normal blood cholesterol levels.